Home > Reading Room > Bhimji Jadva Velji Varsani -v- Relfo Limited (in liquidation) [2010] EWCA Civ 560

Bhimji Jadva Velji Varsani -v- Relfo Limited (in liquidation) [2010] EWCA Civ 560

Written by Paul Bicknell on 19 November 2010

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This case provides a discussion about CPR 6.9 (service of the claim form where the defendant does not give an address at which at which the defendant may be served).

Background

In June 2001 Relfo sold property for around £4million liability for tax was as £1.26million. Around £3.5million was sent to shareholders of Relfo. Tax was not paid and on 26 April 2004 HMRC issued Notice Warning of Legal Proceedings. On 04 May 2004 half a million was sent to a BVI company from Relfo. the BVI company transferred $878,479.35 to was remitted to Appellant's account Citibank (Singapore). Relfo entered Voluntary Liquidation on 23 July 2004.

Singapore Proceedings

Relfo commenced proceedings against the Appellant in Singapore averring that £500.00 was paid by the Appellant's director Devji Ramji Gorecia in breach of fiduciary duty. The Singapore High Court held that there there was a breach of fiduciary duty and that there was sufficient evidence that the £500,000 was the traceable sum which Devji sent but the Court went on to find that such a decision amounted to an indirect enforcement of UK revenue laws and for that reason the court had to dismiss the claim (although it is debatable whether awarding judgment amounts to enforcement).

UK Proceedings

Relfo started proceedings in Enland. Relfo sought to serve the claim form at the Appealant's father's house. So the issue arose as to the meaing of "usual or last known residence".

The Court of Appeal found that: "Whether a defendant's use of a property characterises it as his or her "residence", that is to say the defendant can fairly be described as residing there, is a question of fact and degree. In the present case, the Edgware House is owned by the Appellant and his wife, and is the place where his wife, children, mother, father and sister permanently live. It is the place which the Appellant has affirmed in court proceedings is not only his "residence" but his "home". While such affirmation is not conclusive, it is plainly highly material. The Appellant visits that home every year to see his family, staying for not inconsiderable periods of time, as and when his work in Kenya permits him to do so. It is, in an obvious and very real sense, his "family home." Taking those facts together, it seems to me quite impossible to contend that the Appellant does not reside at the Edgware House at all. The Appellant himself did not contend to the contrary in his witness statement in support of the Application. To be fair to Mr Jacob, the contrary was barely pressed by him".

The Court of Appeal concluded: "for those short reasons, I consider that the deputy Judge was both entitled and right to conclude that the claim form was properly served on the Appellant at the Edgware House. Accordingly, I would dismiss this appeal".

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